Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Letter From the Executive Artistic Director: Welcome to Berkeley Center!


13 years ago, Bay Area Children's Theatre was five dedicated artists and educators sitting around a table eating pizza and dreaming. 

This past week, we opened our very own space in downtown Berkeley. To be honest, my head is spinning a little in excitement and disbelief.  

As we were painting the walls, one of our amazing artists said to me, "Nina, do you want to write your intention for the space in paint?  Then we will paint over it, but the intention always remains in the room."  What a terrific idea!  So, I grabbed the nearest paint brush and wrote "CREATE IMAGINE PLAY".  


Here, in the land of the internet, I will take a moment to expand on those words and share our intentions with you.


Create

At the start of any artistic endeavor is creation.  

As theatre makers, we create a world in which all that exists is you and the rest of the audience in a single moment. But, when introducing an entire generation to the joy of art as a part of their lives, creation is more than artistic.   We are sparking creation through:
· Conversations with family members or classmates
· Ideas inspiring kids to see beyond their own surroundings
· Worlds that children can jump in and explore

Our new Berkeley space will expand our ability to create with two dedicated theatre spaces and an interactive lobby, built for exploration.  

Imagine

Imagination is raw material for building empathy and storytelling.  Every imagination is a muscle that needs exercising.  

In designing a production, we weigh and measure artistic possibilities, deciding how much of our design will be literal or representative, and how much should be left to the imaginations of our young audience members.
We love seeing drawings by children who come to our student matinees because it gives us an invaluable peek into their view and how they used their imaginations to fill in, around, between and through the lines to create a world uniquely their own.
Kids with healthy, active imaginations put themselves in other's shoes, looking at life through a lens of options and opportunity. Our new space will help us inspire imagination through interactive activities, performances and classes.  

Play

PLAY is at the very heart of everything we do. 

Children learn through play, and when we connect with children, we transport ourselves, playing and learning with them. 
Through play, we  become children again and explore, try new things, see the world differently, and practice what we are learning.
This is why our classes incorporate play as a means of learning and why we strive to weave play with storytelling throughout all of our productions. This way, each class, each performance is new and exciting and different, seen through the eyes of our young audiences.
In our beautiful new space, we encourage play in our lobby, in our classes, in the rehearsal process, and in every performance. Play is what drives us, and what makes it possible for us to transform practicing what we’re learning to the magic of live performance.


I hope you will come visit us and share this dream come true as we continue to create, imagine, and play with you and your family. See you at Berkeley Center!

Think Playfully!
-Nina Meehan

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity Guide

Who doesn't love the classic tale of the Very Hungry Caterpillar?  Well, to prepare for the Hungry Caterpillar Show, we've rustled up an array of pre-show activities for you and the littles to try!

Caterpillar Macaroni Necklace

The whole family can dress up for the show with this simple craft.


Get creative with dried pasta, string, and cut paper, making your own caterpillar.  Match the classic book colors, or design your own!



Countdown to your performance of Hungry Caterpillar Show, but building your own caterpillar chain!  Who can make the longest?  And of course, don't forget the googley eyes!



Are you familiar with story stones?  They're an amazing way to explore storytelling in a tactile way.  Enjoy painting rocks to tell the story of the very hungry caterpillar!




Enjoy some nice leaf collecting and crafting with this fun project.  Who knows, maybe you'll see a few caterpillars while you're out there!

Got some other great craft ideas, or want to show off your creations on social media?  Don't forget to tag us!  @bactheatre. 



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rainbow Fish Reading List

If you and your little loved watching and reading Rainbow Fish, here are the next books to add to your reading list!

Here's our pick of books to read after Rainbow Fish!


Get in the spirit for our next show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with this Eric Carle classic, The Grouchy Ladybug.  Focus on concepts of time and space while following the ladybug's adventures.




For a slightly older crowd, the beautifully illustrated Stellaluna, follows a young bat attacked by an owl, who must learn to embrace the meaning of family.





Enjoy a great classic with Coduroy, in the tale of a bear waiting on the department store shelf for his new owner.  This one is even more popular today than in was during it's late 1960's release.





Stick with your friend Rainbow Fish in this more recent scale tale, Rainbowfish Finds his Way.  When Rainbow Fish loses his way, he finds new friends help him get back to his sparkle scale school.



Are there other classics about family and friendship you and your kids love? Tell us about it in the comments!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rainbow Fish Snacks

What do we love more than The Rainbow Fish Musical?  Food, of course!  If you and your kids feel the same, heres a selection of great snacks to enjoy before our after your trip to the wild, aquatic world of Rainbow Fish.

Fish on the River


It's a new generation of ants on a log!  For a quick, simple and nutritious fishy snack, food.com combined celery, cream cheese, and goldfish crackers to create this line of fish swimming up stream.  Substitute cream cheese with nut butter or humus, for a savory, dairy-free protein boost!  

Under the Sea Cookies


These cookies are almost too fun to eat!  Explore the depths of the ocean by creating mini seascapes on sugar cookies.  Combine graham cracker  sand, candy rocks, and an array of gummy creates in these edible aquariums!

Jello Fish Bowls


For a snack that jiggles and wiggles, try these edible fish bowls!  Nilla wafer sand, berry Jello water and multicolor Swedish Fish create the perfect afternoon treat.  Add other gummy animals like sharks.  The possibilities for sea creature fun are endless.  Cast your spoon into this aquarium and catch a fish or two!


Do you have another other great Rainbow Fish themed snacks?  Other things you'd love to see on the blog?  Let us know in the comments! 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Our Junior Blogger, Julietta, LOVED Fly Guy, read her review here!

The Fly Guy play had me buzzing for more BACT plays! 


It was really amazing, and I loved the set especially. It was about a boy named Buzz who has a fly as a pet (it can even say his name!). He also meets a girl named Liz who also has a fly as a pet (and it can also say her name!). However, some people might not like the idea of it. They think of flies as pests, not pets.
The play is really funny and I really enjoyed it. 

So what about those people who think of flies as pests? Can flies really be friends, not foes? In my opinion, sure, if you prefer a very, very small pet that has a chance of easily flying away or causing chaos in restaurants, or maybe a fly swatter factory, if you go to one ( hopefully without your pet!).



The moral of the story? Check what kind of factory your touring before bringing your pet fly!
What do I think about a pet fly and if they are pests or pets? Well, during the play I felt like I needed to help Fly Guy and Fly Girl when they were almost going to get swatted, but being honest, I still do not want those flies in my house!  I'm thinking of them as kind of a mix, since they are a bit gross, but the play helped me see the pet part of flies.
But, even though I would never have a pet fly, I still loved the play and the books too.

The fly in the play is given personification to make him fit in the story better. For one thing, he can talk, like say Buzz, friendzies, Hizee, and more. The only thing about it is he can only say words with a Z in them (or at least words humans can understand.) . The same thing goes for Fly Girl too. So they are given personification, only more realistic. 

I'm excited for the next BACT play!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Rainbow Fish Musical Preshow Activities!

It's time for a #summerofsharing with everyone's favorite sea creature: Rainbow Fish.
Here are some fantastic pre or post show activities to get you in the Rainbow Fish groove!

Paper Plate Fish
If you have some spare summer BBQ plates, this is the project for you!
Just make sure your workspace is ready for some glitter!


 Write your own version of The Rainbow Fish Musical, or reenact scenes at home with these easy-peasy hand traced puppet!  It's the perfect group project!


This project is super easy, and fairly mess free.  Sculpt your fish and let them dry for a long lasting aquatic friend, or reusing the play dough again and again!  Are there other creatures in the Rainbow Fish story you can sculpt?




Whether you're gearing up for a weekend performance of Rainbow Fish, or want to keep the fun going all summer long, we hope these activities bring a little more Rainbow Fish into your life!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Construction Site Activity Guide

Do your kids love  Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site? Looking for the perfect pre or post show activity?

Grab your hard hats and get ready for some fun with these Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site activities


Counting
If you're focused on learning to count, this activity only requires your excavator, paper, and a handful of dried beans!

Painting
This project is a little messy, but tons of fun for the budding artist in your family!

Printables
If you're looking for more thorough preschool curriculum and activities surrounding the books, check out these free printables!



Sensory Bin
Get out some legos, beans, balls, and noodles to create a sensory bin that's eye catching fun for the whole family, like this one!

Enjoying these activities? Hoping to see more activities liked to our shows?  Let us know in the comments, or connect on Facebook and Twitter!